Readers of the Lowimpact blog won’t necessarily know who Alicia Keys is. She’s an American singer / songwriter who has sold over 35 million albums. So very famous, very successful, and right at the heart of the entertainment industry. So shock! Horror! She’s decided to give up cosmetics.
What is she thinking? As you can see in the picture above, she looks absolutely hideous without makeup, and much older than her 35 years. Here’s another pic – ugh!
But seriously – here’s why Alicia’s giving up makeup is so great.
One of the reasons she gives for rejecting makeup is that she was always feeling afraid that someone was going to photograph her without makeup and publish it – the shame! If Alicia Keys felt like that, it’s a fair bet that millions of other women do too. And it’s not just women – younger and younger girls are feeling pressured to pay good money to hide their natural beauty with cosmetics.
This is from one of her songs:
In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I’m made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem
So maybe more women will be emboldened by Alicia’s stand, and join her in giving up the fake looks and unnecessary expenditure.
Taking money from corporations
I think she hit the nail on the head with the reference to Maybelline. Corporations dominate the international cosmetics market – which is now worth $181 billion! Think of all the useful things that could be done with that money, instead of making young women feel bad about themselves. Or of course the money needn’t be spent at all. Then women just wouldn’t need so much money – maybe they could relax, and enjoy life more.
The power of corporations is damaging our democracy. This is one of the main reasons that Lowimpact exists, and so we celebrate anything that takes money (and therefore power) away from them.
Fewer animals tortured
Cosmetic testing on animals is banned in the EU and some other countries (but not the US). What does this mean to corporations? Nothing at all. Corporations (unlike people) are not restricted by national borders. If they can’t test on animals in one part of the world (or employ slave labour, smash unions, dump toxins, sell drugs banned elsewhere etc.), then they’ll do it in another part of the world.
You can help stop millions of animals being tortured by boycotting Avon, Johnson & Johnson, Chanel, Estee Lauder (to name a few brands that use animals to test their products), or better still, by doing an Alicia and giving up altogether.
If (fingers crossed) she can persuade millions of other women to give up cosmetics, then we won’t need so many giant factories, trucks, fossil fuels, industrial-scale manufacture of synthetic chemicals and plastic containers, and the huge amount of plastic waste generated (some of which will add to the great Pacific garbage patch – an enormous island of plastic in the ocean).
So anyway, if you don’t know who Alicia Keys is, have a look at the video below (back in her makeup days, obviously). She writes her own songs and plays piano too. It may not be your cup of tea, but me – I’m a sucker for massive female voices.
The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's
1geoffpowell June 10th, 2016
Looks hideous? The writer is obviously unwell in his mind and I advise him seek help
2Dave Darby June 10th, 2016
Seriously? I mean, how did you even work out how to post a comment?
3Shaun Chamberlin June 10th, 2016
4K June 10th, 2016
Wow – really Dave? Just because it’s sarcasm it doesn’t mean it isn’t misguided and distasteful. I used to have a lot of respect for Low Impact. Your post made me question that and your response to geoffpowell pretty much leaves it in shreds.
5Dave Darby June 10th, 2016
Summary of responses from this discussion on FB:
1. it’s looking like quite a popular post, and there are far more likes than negative comments – here and on FB
2. I’m not scared of debating with anyone, but if someone reads this particular article and actually believes that I think Alicia Keys is hideous, then I don’t think I’m going to have very interesting discussions with them anyway – and if they leave, and I attract people who do ‘get’ it, then the quality of conversation is going to improve. I’m happy to risk that.
3. if you think about it, people choosing to respond for whatever reason puts that photo of Alicia Keys sans makeup in front of more people – which in itself I think promotes what I’m trying to say – that makeup is unnecessary. Their offence at my calling her hideous might reinforce that, if anything.
4. if people don’t get such in-your-face sarcasm, then they’re very unlikely to get the main political message of Lowimpact.org. And I’m not tailoring my writing style to pander to them – this is for my entertainment too.
5. what’s the alternative, really? vanilla blogging so as not to upset anyone? ‘she is very pretty. she doesn’t wear makeup. that is good’? No – I’d prefer to annoy a few people.
6Nancy Solano June 10th, 2016
Are you kidding me?!! You start the article by slamming her looks?! Wtf, so terrible. You are part of the problem if you think that’s okay.
7Dave Darby June 10th, 2016
8Ceiteag Sinclair June 10th, 2016
I have to be honest when I first saw the post on facebook it wasn’t immediately obvious that the comments were sarcastic. If it hadn’t been LILI, I might not have looked any further. Children or teenage girls seeing the post might just accept it as saying that not wearing make-up makes you look ugly and old! After all, l that’s what the advertising industry is constantly telling us.
Speaking as someone who hasn’t worn make-up for over 30 years, I think the rest of your article was great. I think it’s wonderful that a celebrity is willing to do that. I just consider it would have been better if the initial impression didn’t appear so negative.
9timothy ettridge June 10th, 2016
Dave’s approach to writing (and maybe even life) seems to be one I’ve always tried to follow; it’s so much easier to just be who you are because it will repel the people you want to repel and attract the people you want to attract.
If you don’t have the sense to see the sarcasm (and the nice point it makes), then it’s best you’re offended and will hopefully just go away.
10Dave Darby June 10th, 2016
Timothy, that is pretty much my approach, yes.
However, I’m also known for changing my opinion instantly when presented with a good argument. There have been plenty of bad arguments on this one, but Ceiteag’s point: ‘Children or teenage girls seeing the post might just accept it as saying that not wearing make-up makes you look ugly and old! After all, l that’s what the advertising industry is constantly telling us.’
is a good one.
They might not have looked any further, and it might have ingrained the corporate advertisers’ message even more. I don’t know.
As a counter-argument, posting photos of Alicia Keys without makeup and saying that she looks hideous is a bit like posting videos of Lionel Messi playing football and saying ‘hmmm, he’s not very good, is he?’ No-one in their right mind, of any age, is going to agree.
But Ceiteag’s point is still good – I don’t want to promote the opposite of what I intended!
11timothy ettridge June 10th, 2016
Come to think of it, my comment above nicely parallels the make-up article; look how you look because…it will repel the shallow people you would want to repel and attract the substantial people you’d want to attract.
12Dave Darby June 10th, 2016
by the way, how would you respond to someone who says, in public, that you’re unwell and need help, when you know they haven’t understood what you’ve said?
13timothy ettridge June 10th, 2016
Ah…yes. She does make a good point in that regard.
14John Harrison June 10th, 2016
One of the things I like about this blog is that you don’t dumb down and why should you apologise for a joke any fool can see was a joke. Without make up she is obviously very pretty.
On the main topic – I hesitate to say whether people should or should not wear make up.
15Dave Darby June 10th, 2016
Thanks John. Consistency is key. I will absolutely, remorselessly, consistently and forever point out the horrors of the corporate system, and why we shouldn’t give them our money, knowing full well that most people won’t get it. But I don’t care – this isn’t a popularity contest. Quality is more important than quantity.
The kind of discussions I’m really interested in having are about systemic economic and political change. People who don’t understand the tiniest bit of irony won’t be able to have that conversation – so a bit of a purge is fine. (Having said that, there’s been a huge spike in hits today because of this post).
16Kate Williams June 11th, 2016
Great piece. As I understand it (and I may not have understood it correctly), cosmetics tested on animals can’t be sold in the EU (i.e. it’s the tested product as well as the testing that is banned). However, animal testing IS required by law in China. Since that is now one of the world’s biggest markets, many companies don’t test to sell in the EU but do test to sell in China. This makes life very difficult if you do want to buy cosmetics non tested on animals from somewhere like the Body Shop. While it has a commitment not to animal test and doesn’t sell in China, it’s parent company L’Oreal does. Go figure. I suppose the answer to this one is to not buy from any large corporations. Or not wear any at all, as the article says. I think I will need to build up to that though…
17cascadian12 June 11th, 2016
It was sarcasm. Always hard to tell in the printed word, but the context of the article helps and everyone knows Alicia Keys is beautiful.
18Angela Arcese June 11th, 2016
The lede probably doesn’t come across quite like you think it does. And regardless of whether the sarcasm comes through clearly, the underlying message I read here is that skipping makeup is okay only if you’re beautiful and young enough to pull it off. This apparently isn’t what Ms. Keyes was trying to convey.